I believe that this season has provided much to entertain us already, with many enjoyable, memorable moments... and a few not so. I am sure we are all united in wishing our young team, and slightly older manager, well in moving onwards and upwards in this new exciting challenge.
Meanwhile, as well as supporting our team, the TUST team of board members and volunteers have continued to be busy in the background. I would like to re-emphasise that our main remit is to support our club not only to be successful, but to continue to be sustainable in the long term, to remain within our locality, whether at Plainmoor or elsewhere, and to have good inclusive governance. To this end we have aimed to highlight the community value of our football club to our community leaders, to the local business fraternity, to the local public in general and to new and old visitors to Plainmoor. The Fanzones, Matchday Ambassadors, Outreach hubs, TUST brochure and our business networking have all been developed towards this aim. The community and the supporters are a constant!
We have some important decisions to make at this year's AGM, and we would appreciate as many of you attending as possible to guide the board with these. I will leave you to read the summary of the minutes of our last board meeting, and these will inform you of some of the decisions and issues we are facing.
The AGM details and proposed motions will follow in the next few days. It will be held at Torquay Athletic Rugby Club, our local sporting partners, followed by an informal social afterwards (Thursday 24th October, 6.30pm). I do urge as many of you as possible to come along this year. In my view, we need to be there for our club. As do the supporters trusts and associations that exist at the majority of clubs around the country.
Summary of 16th September board meeting
Partnership with Torquay United Community Sports Trust (TUCST)
The Chair reported that he and other members of the board had met that morning with representatives of TUCST and Torquay United Ladies Team. All parties were keen to promote and develop the partnership. TUCST produced a paper setting out areas where it needed financial support without suggesting the amounts required. These included out-reach events, kit for the TQ1 Club for young supporters, clothing for the community coaches and any help for the ladies team. There was support in principle for a season-long commitment to fund these groups, possibly contributing a percentage of membership fees, net of expenses. This would require further consideration and budgeting and reference to the TUST’s financial regulations. Any proposals to then be taken to members for discussion and direction at the AGM. As an immediate gesture of support to meet priorities it was agreed to contribute £500 to the TQ1 Club for the purchase of shirts for competitions and £500 to the ladies team for tracksuits. TUCST would also be invited to submit a budget request for the coaches training tops. In all cases the clothing would carry the TUST name and logo as sponsors.
Torquay United Supporters’ Club The proposal for the launch of a new supporters’ club initiated by the Club was discussed. The board were keen that the two bodies should work collaboratively but concerned that there could be duplication of roles. An approach had been made to Andrew Candy, appointed by the club to oversee the formation of the TUSC as an independent body and he shared this view.
Meeting with Media and Supporter Liaison Co-ordinator All agreed that the appointment of Dominic Mee to this role was a positive step and early dealings with him had been very encouraging with an indication that he was keen to work with TUST. Nick Brodrick had arranged a meeting with him on 21st September and possible items for discussion were considered. In the meantime, Nick tabled the results of a survey that he had carried out of all National League clubs to establish which ones had a Supporters’ Liaison Officer. 50% of those clubs which responded did have such a role.
Football Supporters Association Details of the FSA’s proposals for improving the regulation of professional football clubs had been circulated prior to the meeting and were supported by the board. These to be forwarded to the club owner and directors for their information, as requested of us by the FSA.
Links with other supporters’ trusts The Chair reported on the informal meeting that he and several of the board had enjoyed with members of the Hartlepool United Supporters’ Trust prior to the game on 31st August. It had been a most helpful discussion and HUST had subsequently provided details of its plan for a phoenix club which it had narrowly avoided having to implement in 2018. Further consideration of promoting links with other trusts to be undertaken at a future meeting as an action arising from the Strategic Plan. Nick Brodrick to research which National League clubs have supporters trusts. It was suggested this could include invitations to meet and welcome representatives informally before games as we have already been doing with current contacts.
Business networking and new brochure Ali Bryant reported that there were four new corporate members making 14 in total. She had started work on drafting an updated TUST brochure and invited contributions from other members. She also confirmed that TUST had bought two pop-up banners as previously agreed. The Chair advised that he had attended last month’s local Devon Partnership meeting and at the Paignton Chamber of Commerce business breakfast he had been invited to make a presentation on TUST’s work to the Preston Rotary Club on 15th October.
Strategy Team report Rick Williams introduced the draft Strategic Plan which had been prepared by the Strategy Team. It had been circulated with the agenda, setting out the details of how the board proposed to deliver TUST’s objectives. A number of the proposals would be considered in more detail by the board over the course of the next few meetings and were included in an action plan as an appendix. It was agreed to present the Plan to the membership at the AGM for approval.
AGM – Thursday 24th October at 6.30pm The venue was confirmed as Torquay Athletic Rugby Club and the AGM would be followed by a social evening. The AGM required the attendance of at least 5% of the membership for a quorum. The agenda and associated papers would be sent by the Secretary at least 14 days in advance. Michel Thomas, Ali Bryant and Matt Carpenter’s terms of office are due to end. The former two indicated their intention to stand for re-election. Co-optee Rob Dickinson also intends to stand for election.
Annual accounts The Treasurer tabled the accounts for the year ending 30th June 2019 as reviewed by Independent Examiner, Andrew Fiderkiewicz. The balance sheet showed current assets of £44,428, turnover of £15,933 including membership fees of £9,419 and ‘profit’ for the year of £5,938. The accounts were recommended for approval by the members at the AGM.